Jury Convicts Dodge Center Man Described as Prolific Thief
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- An Olmsted County jury last week returned a guilty verdict against a Dodge Center man described by law enforcement as a prolific thief.
Olmsted County Sheriff’s Captain James Schueller credited the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office for obtaining a guilty verdict. The conviction stems from the theft of 11 catalytic converters from Camping World and Hilltop Trailer Sales in Oronoco that occurred in October 2021.
The jury returned the guilty verdict for felony theft against 37-year-old Shawn Clement on Wednesday. The criminal complaint accuses him of cutting off the emission devices from the vehicles during the early morning hours of October 21, 2021.
Investigators got a break in the case when they discovered a cell phone left under one of the vehicles that Clement had hit, the charges say. GPS tracking led authorities to an area storage unit that was full of what were described as freshly cut catalytic converters when it was searched by investigators on October 22, 2021, the charges say.
The phone also had numerous pictures of the car parts sent to area scrap dealers with texts asking the scrap yards if they were interested in purchasing the converters. Authorities were able to tie Clement to the phone by reviewing cell phone data and surveillance footage from the Austin Walmart store, according to the complaint.
While awaiting trial for the Oronoco thefts, Clement was returned to the Olmsted County jail after violating the terms of a stayed prison sentence he received in connection to an incident in Rock Dell Township in the fall of 2021. Court documents say he’s also suspected of committing catalytic converter thefts in Rochester, Wabasha County and Cedar Rapids Iowa.
The estimated value of the stolen catalytic converters in Oronoco was estimated to be $30,000. Schueller said he’s hoping for guilty verdicts in the other cases pending against Clement. He’s scheduled to be sentenced for the Oronoco thefts in March.